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Current Expedition: The Riomar

Wind and seas improved somewhat. Dave Rust and I decided it was now or never. My wife Cathy went with us as well as another veteran Hank Haartt. Dave captained the Royal Fifth, a 28? footer fitted with a blower. (Captain Carl was asked to fly to Bimini on short notice for a meeting about another project so he was not aboard today).


Dave set up the vessel in a standard three-point layout. He impressed me with his expertise and efficiency in his method. No one had to get in the water to set all three anchors at about 250 feet off each stern quarter and 75 ft off the bow. I have seen a few boats do that but not too many. Anyway, he put the blower right on the numbers I wanted to blow on and we popped a hole in the sandy area. Hank and I dove all six holes today while Dave ran the boat and Cathy did all the hard work tending to the divers, (hoses, detectors, buoys, photographs and lunches). No doubt she will make me pay double next trip. She is very efficient in the water having been a life-guard for a number of years and is quite proficient with a metal detector also. 

The first hole we uncovered the cascabel end of a cannon and quite a bit of ballast. Right away I knew it was 'old blow'. (Had been blown before). Of course we expected that. There were lots of hits in the hole. Most were EO's (encrusted objects) and ballast rocks with a beer can here and there of course. All EO''s are retrieved, tagged and placed in water until we can deliver them to the lab. There they will be assessed. Sometimes they are X-rayed. Objects are easily discernable in an X-ray and the EO can be evaluated. Quite often (especially so on this site) EO's contain coins or other objects of interest. I remember a few years back we raised a large EO something like 30 pounds. It had a 1704 eight reale Lima sticking out the side. Cathy spotted a small one-reale dated 1696 on the other side of the thing . It was like 2 feet long and a foot wide. We had hopes that it concealed more coins. Such was not the case.
Usually EO's are iron objects that have expanded with deteriorization due to exposure to salt water and accreted other material in the immediate vicinity. Mostly just sand and seashells. But sometimes many objects can be hidden in an EO. You may have seen X-rays of EO's that contained numerous items like silverware, spikes, coins. buttons and such. Kane Fisher found a large EO on this site some years back that contained quite a number of gold 2 escudo coins. I think it was 40.
Second and third holes exposed the rest of the first cannon and another complete gun with much ballast. Before the day was over we saw three new guns (total) and a few tons of ballast. We recovered about a dozen EO's large enough for later scrutiny.  Now to get down to brass tacks: We found a single artifact other than EO's that was definitely wreck material. It was a large brass tack.


There is still much of the hole yet to explore. It is too soon to evaluate this area and decide weather or not we should spend a lot of time here. Dave and I are in agreement that we should probably give it another day or so at least. Like I said, the weather was still marginal for blowing operations and visibility was workable but not great by any means. Our thoughts are to go about our business with other activities (for me and Carl that means side-scan op's) and wait for a REALLY GOOD day or two of weather and good viz. Then get in there and set up again. Blow on the sandy area with ballast and cannon and then make a decision to whether any more time (and money) is justified. In my mind at this point things are not looking promising for much more effort in this area. If we don't start finding a few coins soon we need to move on.

One hopeful thought I can add it that there is a fair number of EO's as well as MUCH ballast. And of course the cannon. The rocks are hot (meaning they hit on a detector) So, with all that metal and hot ballast it is VERY likely that coins were missed. Our conclusion is that this area has not been cleaned out. If it had, there wouldn't be any EO's of significance. Who knows what else remains.
So.... the jury remains out.
I have a few surface pictures to attach. Just generic top-side stuff. Sorry. But this is the reality of treasure hunting. Those great pics loaded with treasure only happen occasionally. And then only after you have paid you dues a few times over with stuff like this. But Carl likes to say: "I guarantee you'll find treasure..... if you don't quit!" ( An dat be da troot)

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